[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         July 11, 2008

Precautions help prevent West Nile virus

      Members of the Fort McCoy community who want to guard against contracting the West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases are advised to begin right at home.

      The two biggest steps personnel can take to reduce the risk of contracting mosquito-borne diseases are to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, and to eliminate standing water, which can serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes, said David Beckmann.

      Beckmann is the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works (DPW) Wildlife biologist.

      Personnel can reduce their risk of being bitten by mosquitoes by taking the following precautions:

  • Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors.

  • Apply insect repellent sparingly, according to the manufacturer's directions on the label. An effective repellent will contain 20 percent to 35 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-meta-toluamide.)

      Fort McCoy residents and personnel training or working outside can help reduce the amount of standing water, which reduces the mosquitoes' potential breeding grounds, by:

  • Disposing of tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers if not needed.

  • Emptying standing water from used or discarded tires. Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows. Change water in birdbaths and wading pools on a weekly basis.

  • Drilling holes in the bottom of recycling containers that are outdoors.

  • Cleaning clogged roof gutters on an annual basis, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to plug drains.

      West Nile virus usually has a mild effect on people who contract the virus, according to studies, but can be fatal in rare instances. The people most susceptible to the disease are the very young or very old or those who have compromised immune systems.

      Personnel are urged to take precautions to help protect themselves and others against the virus.

      Al Balliett, DPW Environmental Division chief, said Environmental Division personnel will continue to identify potential breeding sites for mosquito vectors and take measures to correct any problems before they occur.

      Installation personnel can help by reporting standing water, dead bird sightings or any large populations of mosquitoes to VT Griffin pest control employees Harley Sampson Jr. or David Olson at (608) 388-2557 or VT Griffin environmental employee Tim Gelhaus at (608) 388-4787.


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